Avon Lake boys basketball: Shoremen flying under radar heading into season

It’s not often that the defending Southwestern Conference champions aren’t considered a title contender heading into the following season.

After losing a key group of seniors from last year’s 19-4 team, that’s the situation for Avon Lake. The Shoremen graduated a lot of talented players, but they even felt disrespected heading into last season with that team. They’re in a familiar spot and are comfortable with it at that.

“We absolutely love it,” Avon Lake coach Eric Smith said. “To be honest, we were floating under the radar last year. We were picked to finish around fourth in the league last year and that’s fine with us. We’re not worried about other people’s expectations of us, we have our own expectations. We talk every day about playing to the standard.”

Despite losing players including Morning Journal Player of the Year Matthew Stuewe, Isaac Richardson and Collin Stewart, the Shoremen have senior leadership this year that will carry them. That’s not common, but Avon Lake’s juniors played a big part in the success last year, too. Now those guys are ready to lead in their final season.

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